S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 46 Number 1/2 (2010)
Holisticity, Discontinuity, Class in Chinese Aspect
- Iljic, Robert
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.46 No.2, pp. 147-198
- This article brings together research on tense and aspect in Indo- European and in East Asian linguistics. It relies on the concept of aoristicity to unify the two aspectuo-temporal values of the marker GUO in Mandarin Chinese, expressed by the suffix -guo (guo1) and the phase complement guo (guo2) respectively. GUO is characterized semantically by holisticity, discontinuity, and class meaning. I show that these are aoristic properties. GUO is concerned with neither the events boundaries nor phases, only with its existence. The event is viewed, not in its internal development, but globally, as something compact, as a single whole. Discontinuity manifests itself as the absence at the reference point of any link or adjacency with the past event (no resultative state). The situation is considered in relation to the class of the past events, as either belonging to it (static location guo1) or becoming a member of it (dynamic location guo2). These features, notably holisticity and discontinuity, account for the special affinity of GUO with recurrence. The unification of the two aspectuo-temporal values derived from the verb guò to cross, pass is carried out at a theoretical level. GUO marks in all cases that an event took place : either (guo1) that in the (relative) past there is at least one occurrence of this type of event (e.g., have eaten sharks fin at least once) or (guo2) that an expected, i.e., particular, event took place, that is, has entered the class of the past events, is over (e.g., have eaten the sharks fin, be ready for the next course). The first reading is generic, the second is specific. This paper greatly advances our understanding of the aoristic properties of GUO in Chinese and of the aoristic aspect in general. It has theoretical and typological implications.